Still catching up on unfinished business from Less than Zero
, James Spader terrorizes Robert Downey Jr. and the rest of Marvel’s mightiest superheroes in the first teaser for Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron
. The sea of generic Ultron clones seems really close to the ersatz-Skrulls
and robot armies of past two Iron Mans
, but everyone’s gotta have stormtroopers, I guess.
And in very related news, DC and Marvel have released their respective movie calendars for the next six years. The wanna-be contenders at Warner Brothers/Detective Comics are going with Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman and two Justice League movies, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman (set in the 20’s? I like it), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Shazam (with The Rock as Black Adam), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and — sorry, Ryan Reynolds — a re-booted Green Lantern.
As for the current champs, Disney/Marvel, along with next year’s Ant-Man, we have two more Avengers (Infinity War, 1 and 2, a.k.a. Thanos time), the next installments of Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America (Civil War) and Thor (Ragnarok), and new additions Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch? I still like Luke Evans), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Captain Marvel, and The Inhumans. Yes, we live in a universe that is actually going to have an Inhumans movie. Invest in Lockjaw dog costumes now.
Got all that? If not, the good folks at ComicsAlliance have made a handy infographic, below. And this isn’t even counting the gaggle of comic TV shows now on or forthcoming. Great Caesar’s Ghost, fanboy/fangirl nation, what have we wrought?
“‘Wonder Woman’s origin story comes straight out of feminist utopian fiction. In the nineteenth century, suffragists, following the work of anthropologists, believed that something like the Amazons of Greek myth had once existed, a matriarchy that predated the rise of patriarchy. ‘The period of woman’s supremacy lasted through many centuries,’ Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote in 1891. In the nineteen-tens, this idea became a staple of feminist thought.”
From the recent bookmarks: Jill Lepore previews her new book, The Secret History of Wonder Woman, in The New Yorker. “Superman owes a debt to science fiction, Batman to the hardboiled detective. Wonder Woman’s debt is to feminism. She’s the missing link in a chain of events that begins with the woman-suffrage campaigns of the nineteen-tens and ends with the troubled place of feminism a century later. Wonder Woman is so hard to put on film because the fight for women’s rights has gone so badly.”
A few other trailers that popped up via Comic-Con ’14…
Reborn as Tom Hardy, Australia’s most notable post-apocalyptic survivor looks to need a hand or three from Charlize Theron in the first trailer for George Miller’s long-anticipated Mad Max: Fury Road
, also with Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Zoe Kravitz. Eh, ok…looks like The Road Warrior
with better production values.
Meanwhile, the survivors of the enjoyable first film
look to go all Smokin’ Aces
on Powers Boothe in a new red-band trailer for Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
, with Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Jaime King, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Dennis Haysbert, Martin Csoskas, Christopher Lloyd, Ray Liotta, Juno Temple, Stacy Keach, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven, and Lady Gaga. Not particularly inclined to throw any more money at Frank Miller
, but the first one was good fun.
: One more: Julianne Moore and the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman briefly discuss the political ramifications of one Katniss Everdeen in the most recent teaser for Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. I
, with Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Sam Claflin, Elizabeth Banks, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Gwendoline Christie, and Natalie Dormer. Alrighty then – Not bad, but I thought the two recent addresses by President Snow
were savvier (and creepier) marketing.
Also among the riches of Comic-Con ’14: Zack Snyder released a second image of the Batfleck
(not to be confused with Bruce Wayne
) and our first look at Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
from Batman v. Superman
. So Diana’s meant to be Kryptonian, then (re: the tiara)? That’s a rather dramatic change.
Elsewhere, Joss Whedon’s Avengers showed up to gab and release, over a few days, this robot melee from Age of Ultron. Both properties also showed short teasers to the attendees, but thus far I’ve only seen them online in unflattering Kramervision form.
“‘We’re incredibly proud to have an actor with the gravitas and versatility of Vincent joining “Marvel’s Daredevil” in such an integral role,’ said Jeph Loeb, Marvel’s Head of Television. ‘Wilson Fisk is an iconic villain whose cunning and power make him the dangerous equal of our hero.'”
After the abrupt and disappointing exit of Edgar Wright from Ant-Man (Buster Keaton haz a sad), Marvel restores a modicum of goodwill by casting Stardust and Boardwalk Empire‘s Charlie Cox as Matt Murdoch and thoroughly unique oddball Vincent D’Onofrio as the Kingpin in their upcoming Daredevil TV show. Yeah, I’d watch it.
“Worth1000 hosts a variety of photo-editing and illustrative contests. One of their contest series, Superhero ModRen, challenges users to incorporate superheroes into fine art pieces. It’s fun to see the contrast of modern characters we know and love placed in classic painting styles and poses.”
Superheroes added to classic art — click through for many more.
With production gearing up, Zack Snyder tweets out our first look at Ben Affleck as Batman
, and it’s heavy on the Frank Miller
. (Close-up below.) I wasn’t sold at all on Man of Steel
, and I expect this second installment will be completely overstuffed. Still, that’s an impressive rendering of the Dark Knight, and no mistake.
“Steve Rogers doesn’t represent a genericized America but rather a very specific time and place – 1930’s New York City. We know he was born July 4, 1920 (not kidding about the 4th of July) to a working-class family of Irish Catholic immigrants who lived in New York’s Lower East Side. This biographical detail has political meaning: given the era he was born in and his class and religious/ethnic background, there is no way in hell Steve Rogers didn’t grow up as a Democrat, and a New Deal Democrat at that, complete with a picture of FDR on the wall.”
At Lawyers, Guns, & Money, Steven Attewell reminds us that Captain America has always been an FDR progressive. “[U]nlike other patriotic superheroes (like Superman, for example), Captain America is meant to represent the America of the Four Freedoms, the Atlantic Charter, and the Second Bill of Rights – a particular progressive ideal.”
Which reminds me, I was glad to see Cap so obviously take arms against the post-9/11 GWOT surveillance/preemption apparatus in Captain America: The Winter Soldier a few weeks ago. CA:TWS is top-tier Marvel, right next to The Avengers and Iron Man, and an even better film than the quality first installment. I particularly enjoyed the second-act twists involving Operation Paperclip and a UNIVAC, and if nothing else, the movie has furnished us with another very funny meme in “Hail Hydra.”
That being said, the third act slips off the rails some — state-of-the-art aircraft carriers with easily penetrable overrides, ho-hum — and the death count here, while not as egregious as in Man of Steel, still veers well into the absurd. When it comes time to face Ultron, how ’bout going easy with those grenades, Cap.
“‘Dreadstar is one of the most important comics on the 1980s, paving the way for creators to control their own creations,’ said Gilmore. “‘After decades of Jim exercising that control and turning away countless Hollywood suitors, I’m excited he’s trusting me and J.C. to do it right.'”
Proving yet again that we live in the Golden Age of fanboydom, there’s apparently movement afoot to make a film out of Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar(!) Dreadstar — one-part Blake’s 7, one-part Conan, two-parts Star Wars — was one of my favorite comics as a kid, and the only one I remember writing a letter to, explaining my (wrong) theory about who the traitor on the team was.)
To be honest, even now in the midst of the comic-film invasion, it’s hard to imagine a Dreadstar movie making any bank — Hopefully Oedi brings in the kitteh-minded folk. But I would’ve said the same about Guardians of the Galaxy, so what do I know.
The second trailer for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past is now online
, starring both the original
and First Class
crew of mutants.
Hrm…I could still see this one going either way. Next to the Dark Phoenix saga, Days of Future Past is probably the quintessential X-Men tale, but this seems overstuffed, and screenwriter Simon Kinberg’s work on X3 does not inspire confidence.
Update: The third trailer has now dropped as well, along with this spiffy “25 Moments” sites chronicling the recent milestones in mutant history, a la Watchmen.
“Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot. I must be a creature. I must be a creature of the night…I shall become a shark.” Iconic Batman villains reconceived as cartoon sharks
, by artist Jeff Victor
. Mr. Freeze’s goldfish is a nice touch.
This still ain’t no place for no hero
: The Scarecrow threatens Gotham, and Bruce Wayne gets a spiffy new Batmobile, as Rocksteady Games announces Arkham Knight
, the fourth and final installment in the excellent Arkham
series, now enhanced with XBox-One-level graphics. There goes another fifty hours.
Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four
reboot staffs up with Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Miles Teller, and Jamie Bell
. Eh…I get that they’re skewing for a younger crowd than fanboys-approaching-40, and Bell, Jordan, and Mara are all quality actors, I suppose. (Hopefully, this proves to be a more auspicious quartet for Jordan than Wallace, Bodie, Poot, and D’Angelo
.) But, while I haven’t seen The Spectacular Now
, I’m not feeling the guy playing Mr. Fantastic at all. Where’s the gravitas? This looks like something on the CW.
“What a bunch of A-holes.”
James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy get their long-awaited trailer debut
, with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Batista, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, John C. Reilly, Peter Serafinowicz, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro, and the voices of Vin Diesel (Groot) and Bradley Cooper (Rocket).
“What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”
In a surprising twist, Zack Snyder announces Jesse Eisenberg as Batman v. Superman‘s Lex Luthor (and, in more conventional casting, Jeremy Irons as Alfred.) Hrm. Well, I like the outside-the-box risk taken here, provided Eisenberg isn’t just reprising his role from The Social Network. (Image above via AICN talkbacker JayEskimo.)
Also in comic news, I forgot to post this last update: Empire
issues 25(!) different character covers for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past
, including, above, Ian McKellen’s Magneto, Peter Dinklage’s Bolivar Trask, and an admirably creepy Sentinel from the future. Some of these are better than others, and in all honesty I’d rather see Matthew Vaughn helming this project, but here’s hoping this is close to Singer’s X2
Continuing Marvel’s trend of outside-the-box, tone-perfect casting, Paul Rudd will play Ant-Man for Edgar Wright
, presumably as Scott Lang and not Henry Pym. “Wright’s original plans for the film called for both Pym and the later Ant-Man of the comics, Scott Lang, to appear in the feature…'[We] see Pym as Ant-Man in action in the 60’s, in sort of “Tales to Astonish” mode basically, and then the contemporary, sort of flash-forward, is Scott Lang’s story, and how he comes to acquire the suit, how he crosses paths with Henry Pym, and then, in an interesting sort of Machiavellian way, teams up with him.'”
Important to note, the casting of Paul Rudd means we now also have a teaser for Edgar Wright’s ANT-MAN. (If that didn’t make any sense to you, see this.) Also, word is Ant-Man’s insectophile colleague, the Wasp, might well be played by Rashida Jones, Rudd’s I Love You, Man co-star (and a college acquaintance of mine). Good choice!
Update: “I’ve been dying to do a Marvel picture for so long. The script is really fun, the director is really good.” Ant-Man gets its Henry Pym in Michael Douglas.
As a follow-up to the ambitious and underrated Cloud Atlas
, the siblings Wachowski return to their manga-centric sci-fi roots in this first trailer for Jupiter Ascending
, with Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, and James D’Arcy. Hrm…looks a bit like The Fifth Element
, art direction wise, and Kunis sure does seem to fall off things a lot. Anyway, I’m in.
Also in the trailer bin of late, Spiderman (Andrew Garfield) makes at least three more enemies — we’ll get to a Sinister Six
soon, no doubt — in Rhino (Paul Giamatti), Electro (Jamie Foxx) and the Green Goblin (Dane De Haan) in the first teaser for Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spiderman 2
, also with Emma Stone, Sally Field, and Campbell Scott. After Chronicle
, The Place Beyond the Pines
, and Kill Your Darlings
, I’m a mite tired of DeHaan, to be honest, but I’ll grant that his schtick does work well for Harry Osborne.
Update: And another I missed on the first sweep: David Strathairn gamely rallies the paratroopers in the atmospheric trailer for Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla reboot, also with Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins and Ken Watanabe. I prefer the leaked one with the Oppenheimer voiceover (“I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds,” bringing the thunder lizard back to its Hiroshima roots), but I can see how that might’ve been too edgy for a summer blockbuster.
Update 2: Tom Cruise cosplays Starcraft, and gets some mechanized infantry pro-tips from Emily Blunt, in the first trailer for Doug Liman’s The Edge of Tomorrow, a badly-named adaptation of Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s All You Need is Kill. Eh, maybe.
Update 3: Matthew McConaughey and Christopher Nolan celebrate the dream of flight in a brief and relatively vague teaser for Interstellar, also with Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, Michael Caine, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, John Lithgow, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, and David Oyelowo. As it says, one year from now.
Update 4: Speaking of gamely rallying folks, Gary Oldman tries to get San Francisco’s few remaining humans to chin up against those damn dirty apes in the first teaser for Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, also with Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Judy Greer, and, of course, Andy Serkis. The first one was surprisingly ok, and this can’t be worse than Oldman’s last dystopian epic, The Book of Eli, so I’ll likely matinee it.
Update 5: A few more come down the pike for the holiday film season: First up, computer genius Johnny Depp goes the way of the The Lawnmower Man in this short teaser for Wally Pfister’s Transcendence, also with Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, Clifton Collins Jr., and Cole Hauser. The Matrix-style binary is a bit of a cliché at this point, but Pfister has done memorable work as Nolan’s cinematographer, so I’m optimistic.
And, following up on the first trailer of a few months ago, Wes Anderson introduces us to the cast of characters of The Grand Budapest Hotel, among them Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Almaric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saiorse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, and Tony Revolori.
Israeli actress Gal Gadot is cast as Wonder Woman for Zach Snyder’s Man of Steel
follow-up (which people have been calling Batman v. Superman
, but now seems to be Batman v. Superman v. Wonder Woman v. Lex Luthor v. Doomsday
or somesuch.) “Variety adds you can probably expect ‘several members of the Justice League’ to make appearances in the film.”
This seems like a role that Jaimie Alexander was born to play, but I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve seen more of Gadot — She was apparently in Knight and Day but I have no memory of her.